When written reports about your special needs child are inaccurate

It’s hard to attend meeting after meeting, appointment after appointment with a child who has extra needs. It is painful hearing diagnosis or prognosis from professionals who only see your child for short periods of times. Yet one of the most upsetting things of all for me as a special needs parent is receiving written reports about my child that are inaccurate, poorly written, or worse still, contain information relating to someone else’s child rather than my own!

It is unprofessional, inexcusable and very damaging to receive a report from any professional that is inaccurate. 

These reports are often circulated to everyone working with your child and, even if amended, often the lies are hard to undo.
As a result of an inaccurate report on my son he was once given a school placement that was total inappropriate for him. The stress this caused us and the cost to the local authority to rectify this mistake is impossible to measure. In this incidence it was vital medical information that was omitted from a report, without which my son’s medical care was in severe jeopardy.
As a result of missing information we are currently in battle with the local authority again, this time in relation to school transport.

It is not just missing information that is an issue either. On one occasion I received a report about my son from a therapist which spoke about his ability to name different makes of cars and how he appeared to be doing well in a mainstream setting yet my child is non verbal in a complex needs school! We were sent someone’s else’s report but with my son’s name and date of birth! It was like rubbing salt in a raw wound to read that and I cried. What the department called ‘an innocent mistake’ left me terrified to open any more reports from the same department for months.

Then I have reports that state ‘mum said’ in a way that implies I have lied. These too often state things I know for a fact I never said or have been taken completely out of context. It can appear that the author of the report had an agenda and is willing to use anything said to prove their bias opinion. In matters like this it is their word against mine as to what actually occurred at the appointment or meeting as I have yet to be at such an event where matters are openly recorded. It is not the first time I have read a report on my child thinking I was actually reading a fiction story.

Then I had a report recently that stated my daughter had a diagnosis that shocked me. It shocked me because not only did her symptoms not even match the diagnosis listed but in fact every medical professional who had ever seen her had failed to mention this new diagnosis and it was the first our social worker and my daughter’s head teacher had heard of it either. When I inquired about the report I eventually found out the minute taker had just ASSUMED this was something my child had despite her only qualification being that of knowing shorthand!! This was over three months ago and yet not one person who attended the meeting that day has received an amended report! This so called ‘new diagnosis’ (in fact non existent!) could seriously affect my daughters health care and education yet it is glossed over as ‘human error’.

Some reports on my children are very well done. They are professionally written, accurate, include all relevant information, and are sent out in a timely manner like they should be.

Unfortunately other reports make a complete mockery of the health system and meetings. The fact is doctors and lead professionals rarely write their own reports now and while this may seem cost effective it is far from it when reports are clearly inaccurate and require amended and resent.

I have felt violated reading lies, angry reading about another child, and physically sick reading about made up diagnosis my child does not have.

We HAVE to get it right for every child and that includes written reports.


11 thoughts on “When written reports about your special needs child are inaccurate

  1. Yes, this. Has happened to so many people I know! Am thinking of offering my services as a full-time proof reader for all the teams out there dealing with children with needs…. I don’t think they realise what effect on parents receiving the wrong info can have.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Ya those meetings with the school can be gutting. Especially when they have a hard time getting understanding sensory and helping those needs. Its quite frustrating to read the reports and see in some cases just seem to be pushing them ahead regardless.
    Great blog.


  3. There is a terrible amount of this about Miriam and like you we have had the same inexcusable treatment and the arising emotions. Since we embarked on home education our son is not subjected to these assessments and it is a great relief not to be engaging in this process. Another issue ( tactic?) is reports that are very nonspecific or generic and are basically meaningless beyond very broad and widely applied approaches. E G with regard to sensory processing differences. – this simply reflected the fact that there was no adequate level of support. Indeed it was on this issue we received a cut and paste job that had been last rolled out to a boy named Martin! Funny how you remember these details! We also experienced this from SW. Services are basically at breaking point with so many authorities failing to fulfil statutory obligations towards the most vulnerable children.
    SALT were also guilty of this ” approach” . The worst example though was when the authority were determined to push my son into an unsuitable school service because it was the only one available.
    His pre school report stated that he “joined with other children for toileting routines” – a throw away phrase that gave the impression of continence. This milestone was not reached for a further four years. GIRFEC is an insult to our children and until more funding is provided for ACTUAL SERVICES, not gimmicks no improvement will happen.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Goodness that is bad. Surely would this not be breaking confidientiality in some way because other childrens details are being put on the reports? I really am shocked at this :(.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You have left out that in many reports the parents ability to parent is at the front of the problems with these children. I have had many reports to were I have been the problem in every case study of my child. They treat you like your stupid and you leave many meatings feeling a complet let down to your child. I have had to sit many parenting classes, and because I refuse to sit any more. They say there is nothing they can do to help me.
    I have given up on fighting with people who are NOT qualified In helping us out.


  6. Yes! When I received my sons statement of SEN several bits had been copy and pasted from another child’s document including the child’s name! School reports were the best,the teacher used a generic template and didn’t bother to personalise my sons so I got to read how much my autistic child had enjoyed dressing up,singing and even a school trip that he didn’t attend. It’s sloppy.its lazy and its offensive. Another thing I detest is being referred to as ‘Parent or Gardian of’ three weeks ago the same professional delivered the news that my 3 year old had a life long developmental disability..I don’t think it’s too much to ask for them to use my name!!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Yes it’s has happened to me on several occasions and most recently in fact . I feel violated . I’m at my wits end with inaccurate documents and reports on my family . I feel like I’m reading fiction it has a devastating effect . I don’t know how these people live with themselves .

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m a disabled adult and this is a huge problem in adult services too. The sloppyness, misinformation and deliberate agendas cause endless problems, delays and emotional pain. Violated is a good way to describe ir. A proofreading service/fact checker with families would be so,so useful to so many people. In the UK its also legal to audio record your or your childs medical and social care appointments and meetings, because its ‘your data’ you’re recording. Legally you can do this openly or secretly without telling them, and legally they cant stop you or refuse to be recorded, but most of them dont like it and sulk a lot so not telling them is sometimes just easier. I’ve been openly recording for a few years and found it very helpful and enlightening, much better than notes and memory, and if it becomes more the norm for us to do it might push services into being more accurate in their paperwork.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Our reports from all LA professionals SALT, ED PSYCH, OT always write what LA need them to say. We have been doing some research with a children’s hospital in London and their reports showed something quite different. It is so frustrating that you are never given the right diagnosis. Our son is 10 and so far our research has come closer to finding out what is wrong and how best to support him. We home educate him now. They put families through hell.

    Liked by 1 person

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